Team Vision Project
Medina City Middle School
July 19, 2006
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master of education degree in
educational administration at the University of Akron
The City of Medina is one of the fastest growing cities in northeastern Ohio.
According to the 2000 census numbers, Medina is a community of 25,139. The
population within a 15 mile radius is approximately 275,000. During the 1990’s,
residential growth climbed significantly with a population change of +29.9%.
Medina City Schools is made up of six elementary schools, two middle schools
and one high school that recently underwent a major expansion. District enrollment
has averaged approximately 7000 students for the last 3 school years with a
graduation rate of about 97%. Medina’s school system ranking on the Ohio
Department of Education's Annual Report Card has ranged from Excellent to
Continuous Improvement over the past 3 school years.
The Medina City Middle School Leadership Team realized that data was the
key to continuous improvement in our school. We used data to provide insight into
student achievement and focus the goals and expectations of our vision. When
developing the vision for Medina City Middle School, we focused on two measures of
data which we felt were the most significant, demographic data and student learning
Demographic data was the first type of data we collected and evaluated. We
wanted to get to know and track the different student populations at Medina City
Middle School. By doing this, we hoped to identify and clarify each community’s
problems and needs.
From our demographic data set it was easy to see that the most vital data
was static in nature and dealt mainly with ethnicity and economic status. The
overwhelming majority of our student population, over 90%, is white. Our most
significant subgroup, economically disadvantaged students, comprises approximately
8% of the student population.
As we got to know our student population, we agreed that it would be
important to keep all of the communities in our school in mind as we were crafting
our vision. Lashway (1997) reinforced this ideal when he said, “A good vision not
only has worthy goals, but also challenges and stretches everyone in the school.”
Student learning data was the most important type of data we focused on
when crafting our vision statement. We concentrated on data from our 6th grade
reading and math proficiency results for the 02-03, 03-04 and 04-05 school years.
As we looked at the proficiency results, we were able to uncover a number of
relationships between it and our demographic data.
The leadership team was able to conclude easily that our white population
performed at higher levels of proficiency than our economically disadvantaged
population. We knew that bringing this subgroup up to the state minimum passage
rate should be foremost in our minds as we set out our vision for the future. At the
same time, however, our white population was hovering dangerously close to the
minimum passage rate of 75% on the 6th grade reading proficiency assessment. In
02-03 and 03-04, the passage rate for white students was at or slightly above 78%,
just 3 percentage points above the state minimum. While passage rates improved to
82.3% the following year (04-05) we recognized how important it was for that
upward trend to continue as we crafted our vision of high academic achievement for
Another area of student learning data that we felt was critical to examine
dealt with similar districts. That data set showed an upward trend in achievement on
the 6th grade reading proficiency assessment for similar districts, and we were
encouraged by the fact that the trend was mirrored by our students; however, we
were still concerned by how close we remained to the minimum passage rate
established by the State of Ohio. Additionally, while the passage rate of Medina
students was less than 1% lower than the average of similar districts in both the 02-
03 and 03-04 school years, the gap increased to more than 2% in the 04-05 school
year. This change did not cause significant alarm, but we agreed to monitor this
particular trend over the course of the next two years to see if the gap we identified
continues to increase, remains the same, or reverses.
The final student learning data set we analyzed was a proficiency comparison
of our student populations from 4th grade to 6th grade. In both reading and math,
our white community showed consistent results between the school years examined,
maintaining a level of proficiency above the minimum passage rate. In stark
contrast, the economically disadvantaged subgroup showed a sharp drop in
proficiency from 4th to 6th grade in both reading and math, while falling significantly
below the state’s the minimum passage rate.
"Medina City Middle School aspires toward academic excellence and is
committed to high levels of achievement for all students."
Utilizing multiple measures of data, the Medina City Middle Schools
Leadership Team carefully created a vision statement which reflects of the goals of
the organization. The team concluded that the goals of academic excellence with
high levels of achievement for all communities within the student population
concisely defined our vision. The team’s decisions were firmly based on careful
analysis of demographic and student learning data. With a clear and compelling
vision before us, the entire organization can begin to develop strategies for continous
Implementation Plan Reflection
The Medina City Middle School Leadership Team created an Implementation
Plan in an effort to facilitate coordination of the district vision and to streamline
communication between internal and external stakeholders. The Implementation
Plan provides an avenue for Medina City Middle School to engage in an inclusive and
comprehensive planning process as opposed to multiple disconnected planning
processes. The result of this plan is an integrated and systemic effort by the Building
Leadership Team to address the needs of all students as outlined in the Ohio
Academic Content Standards.
The Implementation Plan was designed to include all stakeholders in building
a guide to ensure that all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income
status, Special Education or English language proficiency, show continuous academic
growth and attain high standards of learning. The planning process accomplishes this
task in several ways. First, the plan is an on-going process driven by student needs.
Second, the plan provides a means of staying on course throughout the
implementation activities by utilizing evaluative measures that can inform future
activities and provide direction in refocusing the vision, if necessary.
Although the Leadership Team’s planning took into account the nature of
Bolman and Deal’s structural, human resource, political and symbolic frames, both
facilitators and barriers to successful implementation of this plan exist.
There are a number of facilitators which can contribute to successful
implementation. In the structural frame, the month-by-month graphic organizer
which outlines the plan provides stakeholders with a visual representation that allows
them to clearly see where they fit into the organization as a whole. This visual
representation also carries over into the human resource frame as it helps a
visionary leader clearly communicate their vision to internal stakeholders.
The outline of the plan also serves as an aid when it comes to planning and
distributing work responsibilities and allocating resources within the structural frame.
This outline can not only assist the leader in distributing work, but it also can work
within the human resource frame to clearly define and lay out responsibilities for
each individual in the organization.
One aspect of the implementation plan that fits within Bolman and Deal’s
political frame deals with the evaluative portion. This measure allows leadership to
monitor and adjust the implementation plan with short term modifications to keep
the organization on track. However, for this to be effective, outlining the plan for all
stakeholders at the beginning of the year and explaining that there is room built into
it for adjustments is crucial. By making adjustments as needed, a leader can avoid
potential political backlash from staff members, parents and community members
who might be unhappy with any number of situations which can arise during the
The final facilitator to this plan deals with the symbolic frame. Simply stated,
this implementation plan makes you transparent as an administrator. It clearly and
concisely tells people your plan. When you put all the information out in front of
your stakeholders, people don’t have to guess about you or your goals, which can
ease the anxiety of your staff and help to solicit buy-in. This idea of being
transparent in your plan and ideals is backed up by Christenson & Walker (2004)
when they say that “one of the most significant contributions that any leader can
make to an organization or project is that of creating and clearly communicating a
Even with all the careful planning and attention to all four of the
organizational frames, barriers to successful implementation still exist. Most often,
these barriers also fall within a specific frame, so to eradicate the problem, the
leader needs to identify which frame they are dealing with and take actions which
are appropriate for that particular frame. Time constraints to implementation seem
to be the greatest barrier to success and fall within the structural frame. When new
leadership comes into a situation with a visionary plan of action, some people have
difficulty adapting quickly to the proposed changes.
Existing interest groups and coalitions tied to the political frame within the
organization can also present barriers to implementation of the plan and
achievement of the vision. New leadership with a new vision and a plan to attain it,
can lead to feelings of disempowerment. Once the plan has been outlined, there can
also be conflict between those groups and coalitions which view themselves as
“winners” and “losers.” If problems like these arise, it is important for the leader to
create new arenas where the conflicts can be renegotiated and new coalitions which
are productive to achieving the organization’s goals can form.
Finally, getting people to see where they fit into the plan and commit to
helping achieve the organization’s goals can be a barrier to success. This barrier is
clearly linked to the human resource frame. Aligned closely to this barrier is getting
people to buy-in to the vision and plan, although it falls more within the symbolic
frame. When leadership decides to change things in the organization, both internal
and external stakeholders can experience a loss of meaning and purpose. They will
often cling to the past, which causes conflict and strife in the organization. Bolman
and Deal suggest one way to combat this barrier is to create transitional rituals
which mourn the past, while celebrating the future.
The Medina City Middle School Leadership Team worked diligently to design a
comprehensive implementation plan to move the school towards achieving their
vision. While some barriers to success exist, the team analyzed the plan and built in
a variety of evaluative measures which work within Bolman and Deal’s four
organizational frames. These measures will help to facilitate the changes which are
necessary to move Medina City Middle School forward as they aspire toward
academic excellence and commit themselves to high levels of academic achievement
for all students.
Christenson, D. & Walker, D. (2004). Understanding the role of “vision” in project
success. Project Management Journal 35 (3), 39-52.
Lashway, Larry. (1997). Visionary Leadership. Retrieved June 28, 2006,